AP NEWS

Bernie Sanders To Campaign In Bethlehem This Month

April 6, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will appear at a town hall event Fox News is hosting in Bethlehem this month, the cable channel announced Wednesday. Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will host the April 15 show, which will focus on the economy and jobs. The hourlong event will air live starting at 6:30 p.m. Details were not released Wednesday on where it will be held. A Fox News spokeswoman said those interested in attending can email townhall@foxnews.com for information on how to register. The Sanders campaign did not immediately return a request for comment. The Vermont senator will be the first Democrat to appear on Fox News for a town hall event during the 2020 presidential election cycle, according to The Associated Press. The Democratic National Committee announced last month that it will not allow Fox News to broadcast any of its 2020 primary debates. DNC Chairman Tom Perez said the close relationship between the network and the Trump administration makes it unable to host a neutral forum. The DNC says it stands by its decision. But party leaders say that individual candidates are free to make their own decisions about media appearances. Fox, the network of choice for many fans of President Donald Trump, is routinely the most-watched cable network in the country. “The DNC believes that we must reach all voters, including (the Fox) audience,” said party spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa, who is among the handful of aides to Perez coordinating 2020 debate plans. “Candidates should do what they need to do in order to engage these voters directly.” Bill Sammon, Fox’s senior vice president and managing editor in Washington, told the Associated Press he believes the same logic should extend to the debates, and he hopes the DNC will reconsider its decision. Sanders might seem an ill fit for a Fox audience that regularly hears hosts and guests bash Democrats and “socialism” as fundamental threats, AP pointed out. Sanders might see his appearance as a bridge to white working-class voters regarding his economic populism and anti-establishment broadsides. Town halls are attention-getters for cable networks. CNN has held eight for the 2020 nomination fight and has five more scheduled. AP said Baier tweeted in response to Wednesday’s news: “Looking forward to it. Others are in the works.” Sanders lost the 2016 Pennsylvania primary to Hillary Clinton by about 200,000 votes. That November she fell about 45,000 votes short of Republican Donald Trump statewide. Pennsylvania is widely expected to be in play again next year. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this story.